Kennedy finds her forte for her future

An average high school student deals with lots of trouble when submitting college applications. Holly Kennedy, a senior at North Penn High School, dealt with more treble than trouble when completing this process.

This lifetime performer has the goal of majoring in instrumental performance with a focus on jazz studies. So far, Kennedy has applied to the University of the Arts, the Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School and is planning to apply to Temple University and West Chester University. 

“One of my dream careers is to play in a pit orchestra for musicals and that’s why I really want to go to Manhattan because it is right on Broadway and they have a great musical theatre program that would be the experience that I need to do that. Being in a pit orchestra, you’re playing multiple instruments and all of those woodwind instruments are typically what I would need to play for those,” Kennedy elaborated.

Kennedy mostly plays the alto saxophone but is also strong at playing the soprano saxophone, b-flat clarinet, e-flat clarinet, and is currently learning the flute. Music runs through the bloodlines in the Kennedy family as she gets her inspiration from her dad, Robert Kennedy, who is a music teacher at Penndale Middle School. 

“North Penn has an amazing music program. There are so many activities and my band director says I’m ‘the ultimate band kid’ because I’m in literally all of them and that gives me experience in all genres. I play multiple instruments and with the North Penn music program, I am able to play each of them,” Kennedy praised.

Instead of the Common App, the website in which most students apply for colleges, Kennedy had to apply straight through the institutions which each have their own requirements, essay prompts, and screen recordings. This dedicated musician put together an artistic resume with all the ensembles and experience that she has had. Not only that, she put together a repertoire study document including all the music that she has played and performed within the last three years.

“For the conservatories that I applied to, there were multiple steps I had to take. I had to record basically four prescreening audition videos for each of the conservatories and send them in. In addition to that, I had to write multiple prompts and essays that they gave me and submit that in so it was a lot different than the Common App,” Kennedy explained. 

This is just the start of Kennedy’s life-changing process. Prior to her application, Kennedy has spent months practicing and preparing for perfection in her performances. Even now, she isolates herself in her room for about three hours to practice every night. 

“This is just the applications and I have live auditions now. These prescreening videos, schools are going to review that and determine if they want me to audition. It’s an audition to an audition,” Kennedy stated. 

Before Kennedy makes her way to the world beyond the walls of North Penn, she plans to play a part in the pit orchestra for the school musical, participate in the jazz band and go to the all-eastern conference. Most of all, Kennedy is looking forward to the many performances ahead. 

“Do not quit. Definitely stick with it because there are so many fun things that are involved with our music program. Don’t quit. It’s such a great part of your day. I don’t know what I’d do without it. The wind ensemble is the best part of my day. It’s like an academic break and a chance for you to sit down and make music with other people,” Kennedy concluded.